Monday, October 22, 2012

Technological Revolution

Images from these two books on invention appear in our new Flickr set
Visitors familiar with State Library exhibits will recognize the cover for “Great Inventions,”
which appeared in our decorated bindings exhibit.

Today in the 21st century, it takes a lot for a product to impress us.  Recently, Apple released the newest version of the iPhone- a cordless, pocket-sized personal telephone that can also display and record video, take pictures, send and receive messages, connect you to endless amounts of information on a global network, give you directions, even speak back to you when you give it a command… and the world is less than impressed because other devices let you do all of that, but faster, and with a (let’s face it) cooler feature of touching phones together to send information.  Incredible!  So how have we become so bored?

In the 19th century, the endless opportunities made possible by the technological revolution awed many. Strides were made in the advancement of automated transportation, mass manufacturing of fabric and clothing, standardized means of preparing print materials, the means to examine the world’s natural elements, and so much more.  Suddenly, the notion of convenience was everywhere. The machinery that made all of this possible was shocking and newsworthy because now a variety of machines from simple to complex were able to do things better than a person ever could.

Take a look at our newest flickr set to marvel at a few 19th century inventions from familiar to strange, and visit the State Library's Special Collections department to discover more wonderful illustrations in our books on patents, industry, and inventions.